Warp Factor Nine

WASHINGTON (AP) – A new threat assessment from U.S. counterterrorism analysts says that al-Qaida has used its safe haven along the Afghan-Pakistan border to restore its operating capabilities to a level unseen since the months before Sept. 11, 2001.

A counterterrorism official familiar with a five-page summary of the document – titled “Al-Qaida better positioned to strike the West” – called it a stark appraisal. The analysis will be part of a broader meeting at the White House on Thursday about an upcoming National Intelligence Estimate.

Down in the Engineering Sub-Basement at the White House, a voice barks from an intercom: “We need more power!” A man with a Scottish accent yells back: “Cap’n! The reality-distortion crystals are almost fused after that speech in Cleveland. I canna give ya no more power or the spin engines will IMPLODE!”

“Dammit, Scott! I need maximum spin, and I need it NOW.”

At his news conference Thursday, President Bush acknowledged the report’s existence and al-Qaida’s continuing threat to the United States. He said, however, that the report refers only to al-Qaida’s strength in 2001, not prior to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The group was at its strongest throughout most of that year, with well-established training camps in Afghanistan, recruitment networks and command structures.

Bush used the new threat assessment to show his administration’s policies are the right course.

“Because of the actions we’ve taken, al-Qaida is weaker today than they would have been,” he said. “They are still a threat. They are still dangerous. And that is why it is important that we succeed in Afghanistan and Iraq and anywhere else we find them.”

Yes, I suppose that in some sense, colossal failure does indicate why it is important to succeed. But as I recall, back in September of 2001, just about everyone in the civilized world agreed that success in dealing with those who had attacked us was a good thing. Even many who loathed you, Mr. Bush, and thought you’d stolen your office, agreed that we as a nation should succeed in defeating that threat, and supported you toward that goal.

So why is it, six years later, that what you have to show is a reiteration that they are dangerous?

Why is it, almost six years to the day after your infamously ignored daily briefing entitled “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US”, you are being handed a document entitled “Al-Qaida better positioned to strike the West”?

It seems to me there was a tall, horsey-faced guy running around a few years ago, complaining about a place called Tora Bora, and shifting focus onto Iraq. Huh. How about that?

We’ve now spent somewhere around a trillion dollars on our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. That’s a one followed by twelve zeroes. It’s a room full of a million boxes, and when you open each box, inside there is a million dollars!

And yet, six years and a trillion dollars later, the President himself will admit that “They are still a threat. They are still dangerous.” Does he say this in his resignation speech, shamefully acknowledging his failure, before being allowed to honorably retire behind closed doors with a revolver?

No! He does it in irrational defense of his own policies, and in the same breath asserts the importance of success!

Mr. Bush, we all agree about the need for success. That’s what you’re being paid to deliver, and why you were re-hired in 2004. Success against al Qaeda.

Where is it?

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11 thoughts on “Warp Factor Nine

  1. There’s a couple of good (and troubling) articles relating to this on the Empire Burlesque site (hopefully you won’t have trouble going there, this site and others were hacked over the last week or two).

    Curioser and Curioser: the Comeback Kids of al Quaeda is about our “benign neglect of al Qaeda”, allowing them to grow to pre 9/11 levels of capability. The article goes on to show how the right sees this as a political winner.

    God, Guns and Oil: The Shadow History of the Saudi-American Alliance is about a couple of recent books that portray the “ever-corrupt relationship between the Saudi royals and the American elite, and the history of the religious extremists who, as in America, serve as the main base of the nation’s wastrel leaders.” This excerpt is particularly revealing:

    “The day after the attacks on New York and Washington in 2001, a Saudi woman resident in London, a member of a wealthy family, rang her sister in Riyadh to discuss the crisis affecting the kingdom. Her niece answered the phone.”

    ‘Where’s your mother?’

    ‘She’s here, dearest aunt, and I’ll get her in a minute, but is that all you have to say to me? No congratulations for yesterday?’

    “The dearest aunt, out of the country for far too long, was taken aback. She should not have been. The fervour that didn’t dare show itself in public was strong even at the upper levels of Saudi society. US intelligence agencies engaged in routine surveillance were, to their immense surprise, picking up unguarded cellphone talk in which excited Saudi princelings were heard revelling in bin Laden’s latest caper. Like the CIA, they had not thought it possible for him to reach such heights.”

  2. Shades of Rudyard Kipling, Gunga Din keeps poping up in my brain.
    A critical thinker just might ask the following questions:
    If Al Qaida is the threat, WTF are our forces doing in Iraq?

    If Al Qaida is the threat, Why doesn’t DHS get busy and get everyone trained up on first aid and full auto weapons?

    Why not offer every able bodied citizen military training and equipment to deal with the threat on U.S. soil?

    Why not equip the general public with gas masks, etc, if the threat from an anthrax or a dirty bomb is so great?

    The answer, my fellow serfs, is these guys are full of crap.
    Bush, Cheney, and the band of seething assholes at the AEI started this B.S., and it’s past time to begin the prosecutions!
    Anyone monitoring this site, be they CIA, FBI, or NSA, TAKE HEED! It is YOUR job to protect the U.S.A. from any threat , foreign or donestic: do your fuckin’ job! Start proceedings against this administration!

    My little brother has just been diagnosed with stage IV cancer, it seems that our nation is in almost the same condition. We need serious treatment STAT in order to survive…………

  3. “Dammit, Scott! I need maximum spin, and I need it NOW.”

    What good imagery, biggerbox.

    Lots of times I try to take a reading of the public mood, especially relative to the phenomenon of those 26%ers who are still unfathomably ‘certain’ that GWB is right and everyone else is wrong. The only plausible explanation I have come up with for why so many for so long were blind about Bush [and some still are], has to do with the skills of hypnosis programming. What if the powers behind Rove and Bush teamed up with a secret ‘mad scientist’ group and used subliminal messaging on television and or talk shows, messaging designed to quell or short-circuit rational thought and normal heartedness? Or maybe some subliminal messaging that would pierce the psyche in a way to successfully ‘inject’ the non-subliminal kool-aid that followed. I know my notion seems far fetched, but consider this: this Administration also designed/used the torture techniques for Gitmo and Abu Ghraib which ‘happened to be’ the most evilly perfect, the quickest and strongest and most efficient, in shattering the psyche of a Muslim. Why stop at shattering Muslim identity when you can also shatter the American identity on your path to ultimate power?

  4. I just read your post and want to say I’m sorry about your brother, erinyes.

  5. Thank you Donna.
    His condition is due to years of self neglect, not unlike the condition of our nation.
    He has about 3 to 6 months left, a terrible thing for a man of 48 years. I will do my best to make the next several months as good as possible, and will learn much in the process……….

  6. >>

    Do you still remember the fanatical, suicidal Japanese in the 1940’s son? How are they doing today? And how many American lives did it cost? Was it worth it? You’re damn right it was.

    It will take generations, son. The whole mindet over there needs to change. If you’d bother to listen carefully to Bush, and not cherrypick, he’s explained that to you already.

    Retreat isn’t answer. Neither is expecting instant success, like some 90 minute movie. Shut up and stand down.

  7. “And finally that idiotic comment that we’ve spent a trillion dollars”

    JACKIE BOY, the amount you state does not count replacing damaged or worn out equipment, healing or insitutionalizing thousands of injured “troops”, nor the burials and death “benefits” of the fallen.Oh yeah, it also does not account for the billions lost by Bremmer nor for the interest on the loans that fund the war.
    Other that that, the war conducted by a superpower against a population ( that never attacked us) armed with mostly IEDs and small arms is going (as Ann Coulter says) “swimmingly”. Such a deal!
    “430-460 billion”
    WOW, if I find the 30 billion in question, can I keep it?
    It’s ONLY 30 billion…………………………..

  8. Jack Lee, I’m sorry you found that comment “idiotic.”

    The Congressional Research Service recently released a report totalling war-related appropriations through May 25 alone at $611 billion. (The link you provided only totals through FY 2006, and the current report indicates an increased rate of spending.) If Congress were to approve the FY2008 budget now under consideration, and no other supplementals, the number would reach about $758 billion. That sum does not include significant other government expenditures nor a variety of other indirect costs, which one Nobel Prize-winning economist has estimated bringing the number to TWO trillion, not one.


    But, if you are still unhappy with my “idiotic” number, you have my permission to imagine a room stacked with ‘only’ 430,000 boxes, each containing a million dollars. I think my point stands.

  9. Like 430-460 billion isn’t horrific, not to mention very loosely “accurate.” Zheesh.

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